Northern Lights Robotics Regional

119 high school robotics teams from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and North Dakota descended on the city of Duluth for twin FIRST Robotics Regionals at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (the DECC) from March 1 through March 4. Ferradermis, Whitewater High School's team, competed with 59 teams in the Northern Lights Regional, while the other 60 took part in the Lake Superior Regional. Ferradermis was one of the final 12 teams standing on the Northern Lights field, finishing as part of the 4th place alliance.

While at the event, the 17 WHS students who traveled with the team each took on different roles and responsibilities.

The team was led onto the field by Driver Andrew O'Toole, Operator Ace Hudec, Human Player Jazmin Cederberg, and Technician Erison Dreksler. After some unfortunate events on Friday, the team left the arena with a 2-4 record and ranked in the mid-forties. They returned with a fury on Saturday morning to win their final 3 qualification matches, finishing 5-4 and climbing to number 25 in the overall rankings. Ranked ninth in the offensive power ratings and having proven on Saturday morning that our bot was one of the strongest in the field, we were the 5th pick in alliance selections, joining the number 4 seeded alliance captained by the Warriorbots from Muskego High School. Warriorbots and Ferradermis would later invite Round Table Robotics from Oak Creek High School to join them to form an all-Wisconsin alliance.

The alliance lost their first playoff match in the double elimination tournament by three points, 108-105, to the fifth seeded alliance. They then bounced back with two strong wins, 104-60 and 112-75. In round 4, the alliance thought they had secured a victory, but after the match ended, the officials called for a replay due to a problem with the field. The Ferradermis alliance lost the rematch and was eliminated from the playoffs, finishing in fourth place.

Support in the pit was provided throughout the event by Safety Captain Daniel Portwine and electrical team members Elora Wildermuth-Breitzman and Belle Cohen. Competition Logistics Lead Emerson Dunham led the scouts including Zoe Olson, Chacha Binagi, Margaret Brown, and Rae Breisath, with many other students rotating through scouting shifts as well and Emerson representing the team on the field for alliance selections.

There are many activities and responsibilities at an FRC event that are not directly related to the robot as well. Cosette Wildermuth-Breitzman, Maddi LaHaie, and Andrew Zimmermann worked tirelessly on the team's presentation for the Impact Award, which allows teams to highlight their community outreach and STEM education efforts. Five team members, including Willow Vogelzang and Mel Prince volunteered for the FRC Team choir, performing the national anthem at opening ceremonies for both regionals.

Ferradermis will next compete at the Wisconsin Regional in Milwaukee at UW Milwaukee Panther Arena from March 22 through March 25. The event is free and open to the public on Friday and Saturday for the qualification and elimination rounds. We encourage spectators to both cheer from the stands and visit the pits to see the robots up close. Ferradermis members are especially looking forward to exposing some of our elementary and middle school students to this FRC event as we have chartered two busses to bring the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams from Lincoln, Lakeview, Washington, and the middle school to Milwaukee on Friday morning!

A special thanks to Tim O'Toole for pulling his trailer to Duluth and to our bus driver extraordinaire Bruce Parker for helping us arrive safely on Wednesday despite a  winter storm that turned out to be much worse than predicted. Thank you also to all of our sponsors who make this team possible, our volunteer mentors who work tirelessly with the students, and our parents who keep us well fed and cheer us on both in person and online.

Go, Ferradermis!